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 16th Annual America’s Health Rankings Shows Sickly Rate of Improvement After Significant Health Gains in 1990s 
by Healthy News - 1/3/2006

Another area of concern is the number of women who receive adequate prenatal care. During the early to mid-1990s, the percentage of women receiving adequate prenatal care experienced significant gains. By 2000, that upward trend had stalled. In fact, since last year’s report, the percentage of women receiving adequate prenatal care increased by a slight 0.7 percent.

“Reducing these risk factors for preventable disease requires comprehensive, community-wide interventions,” explained John Clymer, president, Partnership for Prevention. “Businesses and other employers must work more effectively with other community entities to improve health and address rising healthcare costs.”

Beyond health-specific risk factors, a major premise of America’s Health Rankings is that health status is intimately related to larger socioeconomic forces. As such, the report indicates troubling trends in factors such as children living in poverty, high school graduation rates, and the number of people without public or private health insurance.

Specifically, since the 2004 report, the number of children living in poverty increased in 25 states. High school graduation rates slid from 72.9 percent in 1990 to 68.3 percent in 2005. And in seven states, less than 60 percent of incoming 9 th graders graduate in four years. Additionally, the percentage of people who lack public or private health insurance continues to climb. Since the 2004 report, the percentage of uninsured has increased in 26 states. Today, more than 15 percent of the U.S. population lacks health insurance.

“There is no doubt that these social and environmental issues are adversely affecting the health of our nation. However, the good news is that there is an important role each of us can play in helping to realize a healthier America,” explained Reed Tuckson, M.D., vice president, United Health Foundation. “United Health Foundation, the APHA, and Partnership for Prevention encourage everyone to become active in taking the steps necessary to improve health. This means that individuals should make appropriate personal health choices, actively support local community-based organizations and institutions, and advocate with elected and public health officials for necessary resources.”

About America’s Health Rankings

America’s Health Rankings is a comprehensive, multi-dimensional, yearly analysis of the relative healthiness of the American population . To produce a composite assessment of each state’s health, t he report utilizes 18 traditional and nontraditional measures such as prevalence of smoking, high school graduation rates, infant mortality rates, per capita public health spending and immunization coverage.

These 18 measures reflect three essential contributors to health, which include:

  • Decisions made by individuals that promote health and prevent disease;
  • The community environment that affects the health of individuals and families, and;
  • The health policies made by public and elected officials that determine the availability of public health and medical resources.
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Provided by Healthy News on 1/3/2006
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